February 26, 2021

Weekly News – Friday 26th February

This week's featured image is of Finn in Year 3 with his homemade Roman banquet!

Message from the Headmistress

Dear Parents,

This has been a long week and there are a two key communications today – with more to follow on Monday.

  1. RETURN to school

As you are aware, we are permitted to reopen school fully from Monday 8th. The following detail is repeated from my communication earlier this week in case you missed it:

All Junior School children in all year groups will return on MONDAY 8th

Senior pupils will be slightly staggered to allow us to do their LATERAL FLOW DEVICE TESTS on arrival.  (Currently there are no plans to test Junior age pupils.)

Year 11                 9.00 on MONDAY 8th

Year 10                 12.00 on Monday 8th

Year 9                   8.30 on TUESDAY 9th

Year 8                   9.30 on TUESDAY 9th

Year 7                   10.30 on TUESDAY 9th

There will be further details of this testing and consent forms/privacy notice coming from our Covid email line on MONDAY.  We need a fully completed consent from  each child in senior school before they can be tested.

A note of caution: If your son/daughter has had a positive PCR test in the last 90 days, they are exempt from the LFD testing. You may elect for them still to be tested, however if the LFD test returns a positive result, they would be required to self-isolate, and this result may be a false positive as a  consequence of them still carrying virus (but not being infectious) . Please let us know, if you haven’t already, if your child has had a positive test in this time period. (From the beginning of December).

The current plan is to do 3 tests in school, the 1st  on arrival, the 2nd Thursday/Friday that week and the 3rd on Monday/Tuesday of the w/c 15th March. Thereafter, each senior child will be provided with take home kits and be expected to self- test twice a week.

On Monday 8th we will operate the Key Stage 3 Key Worker group.

On Tuesday if the later start makes the dropping off difficult we will have a room for early arrivals.

Senior pupils in KS3 will get Satchel:One work only on Monday 8th .

There will be no work set on the Tuesday morning.

The staff will all be tested on arrival and before they have contact with the children. They, too, will be self-testing twice a week.

A quick reminder that irrespective of the LFD results, should anyone have symptoms of the virus, they must self-isolate with their household for 10 days.

We are still required to send home close contacts of confirmed positive cases from LFD testing though they may return earlier than the full quarantine if the affected child subsequently has a negative PCR test.

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are not there yet. The LFD testing should identify any with a high viral load, and these individuals will be the most likely to transmit to others, hence it gives us some security that the school is safe. However, there is no room for complacency as there is still a relatively high infection rate in parts of the city/county and some people are still very poorly with the virus.  Therefore all other precautions will be followed.

Senior Children will wear masks throughout the school including in lessons (except PE).

2. Awarding of examination grades: Summer 2021

There is now more detail available on the awarding of this Summer’s examination grades for our Year 11 pupils. The fuller action plan from school will be communicated next week but here are some basics:

The teachers will submit a Centre Assessed Grade to the examination boards by JUNE 18th (Friday). These will be based on:

A file of evidence will be complied:  per subject, per child of work completed in class, for homework, from in-class tests, as part of coursework (English), elements of completed practical work, and some assessment materials sent to school by the exam boards for completion in school. The latter will be assessed by the teachers.

The teachers are required to award a grade based on the evidenced attainment of the pupil rather than their potential.

The exam boards will be adding in quality assurance checks, and seeking samples of work from schools towards the very end of the Summer Term.

Students will have the right to appeal at the centre, and the school the right to appeal on behalf of the student to the boards.

Results day is brought forward to 12th AUGUST.

The Year 11 will , therefore, not leave school in May as is usually the case, and we will give them the maximum possible time to demonstrate their continuing progress in the period March 8th-June 18th.   We are yet to decide on their leaving date, but it will not be before then.  We are hopeful that we will, this year, be able to have some end of school celebrations.

We are having internal discussions currently about the finer details but this gives you an outline of key dates and expectations.

Finally today, we have welcomed Mrs Sarah Skov to school this week as part of our  1:1 teaching team. She continues the excellent work done by Mrs Crawford.  On Friday 5th we will be saying goodbye to Roberta Hutley, our Marketing Manager, and we wish her every success as she moves on to work for the Department for Education communications team. We have a strong field of applicants for her post and are interviewing next week. Miss Hutley has been busy putting together an early Holly Leaves lockdown edition for you.  This will be out shortly.

Thank you to the couple of parents who came along and had a laugh at our quiz last night! The rest of you missed a treat!

I will hold a Parents’ Q&A Session next FRIDAY at 7pm for anyone who has anything they would like to discuss about the return to school plans, examinations or any other generic school issues.  If you would like to attend, let Mrs Bamber know and she will forward a Zoom link to you.

Have a fab weekend, spot the crocuses and the snowdrops – and see if you can see a mask wearing squirrel (one was spotted by Mr Dean on the Avenue today but sadly not caught on camera!)

Mrs Hutley

Message from the Head of Juniors

Dear Parents,

I hope you all had a good half term.  It has certainly been nice to experience some warmer and even sunnier weather. It was lovely to see some of you at the quiz last night – it was good fun!

The children have settled back into the routine of lessons and are again working really hard.  Next week, we are hosting Parents’ Evenings and you will have made appointments with Form Teachers.  If anyone wishes an appointment with me, please let me know. On Thursday 4th , it is World Book Day and teachers are planning lots of exciting activities for both next week and when we are back in school.  Children are welcome to dress up if they wish to and this year, the theme is Mr Men/Little Miss; the dressing up is entirely optional.  World Book Day will be introduced in assembly and for next week, there is a change in timing.  Assembly will be on Tuesday morning at 8:45am instead of Wednesday; this will be shown in the Teams calendar.

I am sure the children are all very excited about the return to school and we are very much looking forward to welcoming them back on Monday 8th March.  You will receive more information on this next week but I would like to clarify some of the things I have been asked this week.

Timings of the day will be as they were before the Christmas break.  All junior children can arrive from 8am.  EYFS and KS1 should be in school by 8:30am and KS2, by 8:45am.  Any children in Years 5 and 6 arriving between 8:30am and 8:45am need to go straight to Villa Road.  The school day for EYFS and KS1 will finish at 3:15pm and at 3:30pm for KS2.  After School Club will be running from Monday 8th (until 5:30pm) for any junior children wishing to using this facility.

Please could I remind you that if anyone in the household is symptomatic or awaiting test results, the whole household will need to isolate.  Please keep us informed of this via the Covid school email address.

With only one week of remote learning left, please encourage the children to keep attending lessons and submitting their work. They are doing amazingly well as are parents balancing their own work while supporting children with their home learning.

I hope you have a lovely weekend,

Mrs Wright
Head of Juniors